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Activity descriptions for teaching geoscientific thinking

These activity descriptions were submitted by faculty in preparation for the Teaching the Methods of Geoscience workshop in June 2012. In some cases, participants submitted a supplement calling out the ways in which the activities explicitly addressed teaching geoscientific thinking for a course they had previously submitted.

If you would like to add to this collection by contributing an activity, please fill out the Activity Submission Form or the Activity Supplement Form if you wish to supplement an activity you have previously submitted.


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Results 1 - 10 of 33 matches

Exploring the nature of geoscience using cartoon cards
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
In this activity, students work in groups to put a set of cartoon cards in order, much in the way that we might assemble a geologic history. The primary goal of the activity is to explore the nature of science in general and the nature of geoscience or historical science specifically, without requiring any content knowledge.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Collaborative Research Project: Geoscience Undergraduate Curricula
Barbara Bekken, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ
Collaborative research project in which undergraduate geoscience curricula at Research 1 institutions are compared. This project uses the methods of science to explore a topic that beginning students can understand. This project uses rubrics for self, peer, and instructor assessment.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Exploring Evidence of Plate Tectonics Using GeoMapApp
Sean Cornell, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
This activity requires students to explore a range of datasets that help substantiate Plate Tectonic Theory. Students investigate plate tectonic environments (convergent, divergent, transform boundaries), topography/bathymetry of continents and ocean basins, the distribution and pattern of earthquakes, the distribution of volcanoes, as well as ages of the sea-floor, and more.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.

Transport of heavy metals in the Clark Fork River
Kathleen Harper, University of Montana-Missoula, The
This is an activity about transport of sediment contaminated by copper, arsenic, and other heavy metals that was deposited into the Clark Fork River channel as the result of historical mining activity. The Clark Fork River between Butte and Milltown, Montana has been the focus of several large superfund projects designed to address the impacts of this legacy of mining in the watershed. This activity is used in an introductory physical geology lab (primarily non-majors) with students who may have limited experience working with quantitative analysis and analyzing graphs.

Evaluating the lines of evidence for plate tectonics
Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College
In this in-class exercise, students compare several lines of evidence that support the ideas of continental drift and plate tectonics. Before the class meeting, each student is given a preparation assignment in which he/she studies one "continental drift" and one "ocean floor data" map. In class, students divide into teams of 3, with each team member having prepared different specialties. They discuss their respective maps and look for spatial patterns among the data.

Calculating the radius of the Earth
Basil Tikoff, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Science students often have difficulty thinking about large spatial scales. The purpose of the exercise is to redo Eratosthenes' calculation of the radius of the Earth using data from to sites in ancient Egypt. The excercise teaches about the methodology of science - how Eratothenes figured it out - rather than worried about what the "right" answer is. It can also be used to discuss the role of models in geological thinking.

Density, Isostasy, and Topography
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Anne Egger, Central Washington University.This page is a supplement to the original activity description found hereShort description of the activity: In this activity, students develop an explanation for the ...

The "What is Science?" Box
Jennifer Anderson, Winona State University
A group of 3-4 students are presented with a box that has writing on the five visible sides and asked to determine what is on the bottom of the box. In solving this problem, students are using the same techniques that scientists use to learn about nature.

The Cube Exercise and the Methods of Science
Barbara Bekken, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ
A new approach to using an exercise from the National Academy of Science publication "Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science" to support students in developing a deeper understanding of descriptive methods, experimental methods, and methodological assumptions.

Analyzing your Hometown Stream using On-line USGS NWIS Data
Laurel Goodell, Department of Geosciences, Princeton UniversityThis page is a supplement to the original activity description found hereShort description of the activity:Students chose a stream of personal ...

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